Apparently I am not man enough to pry myself away from this insane Blood Lust series, so I thought I might as well read the next installment. Judge me if you want, but I am kind of digging this whole paranormal romance thing. On second thought, don’t judge me, just leave me alone so I can wallow in my own manlinesslessness.
At least I am branching out. Women dig that sort of thing right? Perhaps I should attend the nearest paranormal romance convention. I am sure I will find more women there than I would at the nearest sci-fi convention. Who’s the smart one now?
So, we start off during the ending of the first novella, Kept, except we are following the perspective of the vampire, Anthony. And let me tell you, if you thought you saw crazy in Kept, you haven’t seen anything until you dive into the hidden world of Cary Town’s vampires. They are all over the map. There are vegetarian vamps, emo vamps, hardcore old-school vamps, and then there’s Anthony.
Anthony is like a goth version of Fonzie that can charm you while simultaneously sucking your blood. After running drunk on the poison he siphoned out of Greta, he goes on a wild rampage and terrifies poor, innocent Charlee (Greta’s former roommate). Her memory gets all jacked up because of this and so Anthony is forced to hide her at his awesome penthouse until after the upcoming vampire tournament where he will vie for absolute control over the vampire coven and become the vampire king for the next century.
Linus, the big, bad vampire that vants to suck your vblood rolls in to town to let Anthony know he isn’t the only one that has a shot at the crown. They have a mini-showdown in which Charlee, of course, gets completely caught up in. Everything gets supremely complicated after that as she and Anthony romantically spar over every little thing they do.
She hates him, but he has to protect her from Linus. Blah, blah, blah….happily ever after. Or is it? I guess you will have to read it to find out.
Overall, I found this next installment to have more depth and meat than the first. The intriguing world of Cary Town is further enriched as the darker, vampire side is explored. The imagination fueling it actually made the story feel more like a fantasy novella than paranormal romance. Zoe certainly knows how to paint a vivid world.
Thankfully that world is inhabited by an expanding list of interesting characters. The two main characters here, Charlee and Anthony, are completely different than those in Kept, but still wield the same amount of power over your mind. Even though their situation nearly mirrors Greta’s and Dayne’s in Kept, they interact in unexpected and exciting ways. Their chemistry is so real, you will wish you had your own vampire to cuddle up with at night.
The story weaving all the events intertwining the characters with the world is so organic that it really blurs the boundary between fantasy and paranormal romance. I never gave the paranormal romance genre much credibility with me being such a sci-fi elitist and all, but Claimed has commanded my respect. It certainly raises the Blood Lust bar of telling a good story that just so happens to involve romance. The quality of the story was never sacrificed to force in romantic elements for the sake of genre.
If you are looking for a good paranormal romance or just need a break from your standard genre, I highly recommend you give Claimed a shot. You won’t regret it. The only feeling you’ll be left with by the end is a craving for more blood…
I give it two out of two vampire fangs! (in the neck if you know what I mean)